Jacques DE BRISSAC 1632 - 1689
Only son of Jacques de BRISSAC c.1592 - 1672 (pastor of Loudun) and Marie ROY 1615 - 1632
He had four half-brothers and one half-sister by his father’s second wife Marie RIBAY
Born November 1632, Baptised (Temple……) His mother’s death would probably have been caused by childbirth.
Died December 1689, Castel, Guernsey, aged 57 years
1) Jeanne de BRISSAC (his first cousin) 1633 - 1668 m. on 16 January 1663 at Vitré.
(Vitré is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in north-western France.)
2) Rachel de LEGGE 1640 - 1703 m. 20 December 1668 at Chateau du Pont-hus (north of Nantes.) Rachel was widow of Julien de La Motte
Rachel LEGGE and Jacques had seven children
1) James (Jacques) de BRISSAC 1669 - 1736 m. Marie DURAND b.1687
2) Theodore de BRISSAC b.1671 m. Sarah AZIRE b. 1683
3) Richard de BRISSAC 1672 - 1674
4) Pierre de BRISSAC b.1673 m.Marie ROY b. 1686
5) Olivier de BRISSAC 1675 - 1715
6) Rachel de BRISSAC 1677 - 1678
7) Richard de BRISSAC 1683 - 1704
Jacques was pastor in Nantes (1660 - 1685) described as ‘Écuyer, sieur des Loges’ - loosely translating as ‘Squire, Master of the Lodges’, which would have been a professorship position at the University. He was also pastor (1670-85) at Sucé-sur-Erdre, north of Nantes. He was forced to flee the town in the spring of 1685 under the accusation of making a new convert by his preaching. In October 1685 Louis XIV had signed the Edict of Fontainebleau revoking the Edict of Nantes. It forbade exercising the Protestant faith and any migrating of Protestants. Pastors were granted a fortnight to convert or flee into exile.1)
Jacques received permission to leave France within the fortnight and to ‘retire’ to England with his wife and children. There was a condition however that two children (we don’t know which although two of them, Richard & Rachel, had died before 1685) were to be raised by the authorities at Nantes to be indoctrinated into the Catholic faith. This was a cruel and common practice of this time.2)
Jacques and Rachel left France as part of the wave of Huguenot migration to Guernsey (1685-89.) Of the 700 pastors in 1685, 560 left for exile and 140 recanted. Jacques received assistance from relief funds and was also granted £15 towards the apprenticeship of his son Olivier.3)
The English Crown was keen to find Anglican clergy to lead congregations in Guernsey who could speak French. However, few English clergy spoke French and so the Bishop of Winchester sought out the best French Calvinist clergy to minister on Guernsey and the other Channel Islands. Although already ordained a Calvinist, Jacques (like many other pastors) bowed to authorities and on 8 April 1687 was made deacon and ordained priest (all on the same day by the Bishop of Winchester) in order to legally minister and to hold a benefice on Guernsey.
How this ministry worked out in liturgical practice, we don’t know. Calvinist pastors were more orientated to the Spirit of the Word as they expounded on scripture. The Anglican liturgy, as printed in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, was far more structured in its use of Morning and Evening Prayer taken from old monastic practice. What retraining would Jacques and others like him have had? The first Bishop of Winchester to visit the Channel Islands was in the late 1880’s, so one can only guess that a fusion of Calvinist and Anglican practice had been in place for a long time.
So, Jacques became pastor/rector of the parish of Castel, the church of Our Lady of Deliverance/Notre-Dame de la Délivrance (to use its ancient title) or known as Ste Marie du Castel. Jacques died in 1689 but Rachel lived on for another fourteen years. Rachel remained in Guernsey for the rest of her life and was buried in St. Peter Port, but we don’t know where Jacques was buried.
2) and 3) John Luff - but original citation to be confirmed
Other sources - R.Gennerat - Huguenots de France 2003;
Glasse - Church-Protestante 1590 - 1665
Wikipedia map showing the extent of the parish of Castel on Guernsey.
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